Monthly Archives: June 2014

My bug: A Story of Independence

Happiness was picking a name for that beautiful baby growing inside me. I do believe a name is a very important thing for a child. You can curse them with a lifetime of shame if you give them a bad one.

Proverbs 22:1 says “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

My father whom I look up to and admire, his name is Donald Roger. However our last name is Downs and Donald Downs really sounds too similar to Donald Duck. So we choose to use Roger. Kevin picked his middle name. So we ended up with a Roger Douglas. We call him Doug, or bug for short. My bug… what an amazing story this boy has.

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When Doug was just 11 months old he became a big brother. He was an amazing big brother. Luckily he walked already and was always trying to play with his little sister. Even when she would be in her crib (which was in the living room) he would climb up on the couch and look down into her crib and laugh. It was so beautiful to watch the two of them grow up. Holding hands, taking care of each other. I was proud. It was almost too much. When Doug was in preschool, Madelyn got kicked out. The teacher told me this was a time for Doug to make friends and all he did was take care of Maddy. When she had to wash her hands, he would dry them for her. When it was snack time, he would throw away her trash for her. If she was scared, he was there. Always. I call that a good big brother, but I see the teachers point.

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Doug actually didn’t talk until he was 3 years old. Everyone kept telling me neither did Einstein and when he was ready he would talk. And he did. Complete sentences to start. I just had to be patient.

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In early elementary school Doug showed great potential. He was getting 98 and 99 percentile on the standardized tests. He was way above his peers. The problem was we went to a very small school. (kindergarten through senior all in one school). They had no means to help him. They wouldn’t even let him walk across the hall to the next grade math class. The bigger problem was if he was in a 5th grade math level in 2nd grade and they taught him 5th grade math I think they didn’t know what to do the next year. So eventually we went to a bigger school district with means. Doug blossomed! They immediately skipped him 2 grade levels of math and reading.

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Doug participated in the Duke Tip talent search and took his ACT at 12 years old. His overall score was a 20 with a 24 in math. He did very well and they invited him to go the next summer to Trinity University in Texas for the summer and take a computer programming class. This was cool! He got to spend his summer living in a college dorm. He did great in the class too. This is when his independence sprouted. Now, I have to say that momma wasn’t so happy about him being away but I knew it was a good thing for him.

When Doug was 8 he was diagnosed with early melanoma cells. He had 3 tries in the office to get clean borders and then had to under go surgery to remove it between his ribs. They removed a section 2in by 4inches in my poor baby boy. Six months later they had to remove his lymph node in his neck. But this is a happy story so we will end this paragraph with the happy news that this was just a small bump in his road.

One night when Doug was like 14 years old and it was approximately 9pm I caught him leaving the house. He was going to work on the school robot project with another student. But this boy was so independent he never realized that he should actually ask before he left the house. Most teenagers ask permission but since he was doing nothing wrong this was foreign to him. He continued to work on the schools FIRST robot all through high school. This year he is a senior and will be the CTO Chief Technical Officer on the team. He is pretty much the lead programmer.

Two years ago Doug took the ACT again at 15 years old. This time he really rocked it! He got a 33. Which is amazing and in science he got a perfect score of 36!! I practically jumped out of me seat when I found this out! I was soo excited for him. Doors are opening up for him like no doors ever opened up for me. He can pretty much go anywhere. I can’t imagine. I believe he is going to Missouri Science and Tech which is a school that specializes in all kinds of engineering.

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If it seems like a paint him with a brush of perfection you are right. He is the closest thing to perfection that I could ever have a hand in. I am super proud of him and can’t wait to see where he goes from here. I love you bug!

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That picture is Doug and his grandfather Donald Roger on a college visit a couple of months ago.

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What if I fall?

I concur!!

Cristian Mihai

fly

“What if I fall?” 
“Oh my darling, what if you fly?”

Do you ever ask yourself if you like the person you are? If you are who you’ve always wanted to be? Do you know who you want to be?

To be honest, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized who I really wanted to be. I want to be that guy who tells people they can fly. I want to see the magic they have stored up in their hearts for so long. And I want to make them see it, I want to make them use it. Because, truth be told, falling is just another way to fly.

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Happiness

This is another 2012 poem I wrote:
SUNSHINE
UNICORNS
RAINBOWS
DAISIES
GREEN GRASS
HAPPY TREES
BLOWING LEAVES
PURPLE
ARMS OPEN WIDE
GLOWING LOVE
CHOCOLATE
NAPS
BUTTERFLIES
BABIES
BABIES BREATHE ON MY CHEST
CUDDLING ON THE COUCH
GOOD EYE CONTACT
HOT SUDSY BATH
OUR CHILDREN SUCCEEDING
WARMTH OF MY STINKY
SPARKY PURRING ON MY CHEST
SPRING SHOWERS
BRAND NEW SOCKS
DATE NIGHT WITH YOU
GOOD BELT OUT LOUD JESUS MUSIC
TALKING TO MY CHILDREN
THE IDEA OF US ROCKING ON THE FRONT PORCH TOGETHER RETIRED
THINKING OF ROCKING OUR GRANDBABIES
A NEW HAIR CUT
AN ORGANIZED CLOSET
NEW TOWELS
SLOW KISSES
MASHED POTATOES WITH GRAVY
SLEEPING IN
PILLOW TALK
A COOL BREEZE IN THE MORNING
AN UNEXPECTED CARD IN THE MAIL
A COMPLIMENT (FROM THE HEART)
KNOWING I CAN COUNT ON YOU ALWAYS
A CLEAN SINK

…… JUST SOME OF THE THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY

My Divine Beauty– A Poem

This is a poem I wrote back in January of 2012. It was inspired by my most amazing at the time 14 year old daughter. She is 16 now and even more beautiful and amazing every day!!

My Divine Beauty

I have an angel
Not the kind in heaven
The kind here on earth
I am in awe of her beauty
Just looking into those beautiful eyes is hypnotizing
Her smile is radiant
Her beauty is stunning
Her personality is strong
I taught her to speak her mind
I also taught her to speak the truth
To love
I encourage her to be everything her heart desires
I believe she will succeed
She will conquer
She will probably even conquer me
Strength is a gift I gave her
Not physical of course
Self-esteem
She should have ALL of it
Even if it isn’t tangible
But sadly…
Somehow she lacks this
I have seen the real her
She has no reason to doubt herself
Everyday she amazes me
It is hard to believe the miracles
That God trusts us with
That he shares with us
The beautiful souls
We don’t deserve
But I feel the blessing
Sadly for me…
Someday I will have to give her wings
To let her go
To succeed on her own
Maybe to have her own babies
Her own miracles
Love
Everlasting
My divine beauty.

Retirement

I am very curious… what does retirement look like to you? Are you planning? Do you care? Do you think it will all just work out? Have you noticed your parents or some others struggling to figure this question out?

Well, I have a clear vision of what retirement looks like to me. Kevin and I want to retire fairly early. He gets his full pension at 55. So in my vision he leaves the city then. Maybe I stop working then to. We might just get fun part time jobs. But I know I want my summers to be free. It is hard while our kids are just peaking in their teens to think of grandkids, but I am looking forward to spending time with them. I want a lake house, nothing to spectacular just a little get away. Lots of time to read in the sun. I have been working on Kevin to wrap his head around house flipping in retirement. We are looking forward to all the possibilities. Will all of this be possible? Absolutely. Kevin and I started working on a retirement picture as soon as we got together at 24. It was great timing he started at the city at that time too. They have an amazing package when it comes to retirement. He is 18 years in with 14 to go.

One thing about people that are retired I hear all time. Social Security isn’t enough. I can’t stress this enough. It isn’t supposed to be. Social Security was set up to be a supplement to retirement to help with healthcare costs. That is all it was for. Not to help with your retirement at all. People rely on it like its purpose was for their retirement. But just to be clear that was never what it was intended for.

Pensions…. Luckily Kevin gets one. That is a huge bonus. But if you don’t get a pension you can do the same thing as the pension is doing. They are putting aside 7.75% of his income (I believe those are current numbers) towards his pension. If you put away that much of your income for 30 years you would have a large pot to pull from annually as well. A self made pension of sorts.

Stay away from annuities if you can. Most of the things that an annuity does you can do without the annuity. And to be honest annuities are expensive. They are really just an insurance wrapper.

Talk to our kids. Please talk to your kids about retirement and debt. Debt is a terrible thing that can KILL your dreams. Teach them the dangers. Tell them about starting right out of college with any small amount. It will make a difference. You kids see what you do so be a good example. Financially I think we are terrible examples to our children sometimes.

Aging parents

How many of you out there are taking care of your parents? Maybe taking care of your in-laws? Kevin and I are. We are taking care of his mom. I really feel too young to have to take care of parents. I thought it would come much later. His mom had a stroke and has a bad hip, and diabetes. She can barely walk across the room. She can’t leave the house and certainly can’t drive because she is legally blind. The good news for her is she is native American and gets good health care at the Haskell Indian Clinic. She has no income and is on disability as well. We do her shopping for her and take her to all of her appointments. I don’t regret it don’t get me wrong. I just thought this happened later in life.
My mom has COPD now. In a few years she will probably need more help. My little sister loves to play the part of hero so I think she will fill in a lot with mom. But I will of course do what I can do. My mom still smokes though… that puzzles me. Why if you are having trouble breathing would you still smoke? But then again I have never been smoker so I have no idea how hard it is to quit. I do have mitral valve regurgitation however. And when I get out of breath I have a hard time catching it and I don’t like that feeling so I think I would stop smoking. For me the only big problem right now is stairs and carrying things.
My step-dad had a heart attack a few years back. It was scary. Scary for everyone. We all stayed with my mom the entire time. We took turns staying the night with her and everything. My mom doesn’t do well when left alone. Jim had his surgery and is better now. But I think we were more worried for my mom if he didn’t make it than we were for him. Sorry Jim… but dying isn’t the worst thing. 
My dad…. Well he never really tells us much. He is a guy who glosses over the bad stuff. I think he is in pretty decent health but if he wasn’t… I am not sure he would tell us. He has Ann to take care of him though. I don’t really worry about having to take care of him.. he is in Georgia. But I definitely do worry about him. He turned 70 this year!!! Yikes!! I feel like all of the sudden he is old.
Kevin’s dad… well I think one day he will just fall over and die. No prolonged anything. Someone will go to his house because no one has heard from in a few days and we will find him there. I hope that isn’t insulting… it isn’t meant to be at all. It is just what I think.
The general condition of health care right now concerns me for my mom and step dad. They are the “caught in the middle” people. Jan gets disability and healthcare. My dad and Ann have enough to take care of themselves but my mom is doing okay. Okay means a big health care problem would hurt. And because she is okay… I feel like the healthcare for the middle of the road people is worse than the health care for the bottom of the ladder people. Am I wrong in this thought? Any opinions? I am not sure why I think that… I just do. I only know a couple of people who signed up for the Affordable Healthcare and both of them… say they haven’t paid for it yet. Nothing. How does that work?
Oh well, I should get back to work… just thought I would drop a thought off.

Anniversary Poem

This is a poem I wrote for Kevin for our 15 year anniversary. We will be married 18 years this year. Time flies I tell you. I am not the best poetry writer. I like to write… but… well… i will share anyway. Here goes:

The first time I met you…
I wasn’t sure if I liked you.
You were kinda mean.
Made a joke about how I looked like a child.
I was 16.
I had heard a lot about you.
People liked you.
Did I?
Nah….
My heart was set on someone else.
Time passed….
We became friends.
Good friends.
Card partners.
I told you secrets.
Then the someone I thought would be forever faded.
Not because of you.
Because of me.
I wanted more.
I started to look at you a little different.
I liked the way you looked at me.
Ooooppppppssssss!!!
What have we done??!!!!!
A baby???!!!
No way.
Terrible timing.
I thought I couldn’t.
Guess I was wrong.
I asked the question.
Go or stay.
You aren’t trapped.
But I was in love.
In love with this baby already.
You choose to stay.
Really?
I am glad now.
We have done well.
15 years later.
2 beautiful children later.
Love.
Laughter.
Yelling.
Crying.
But always back to love.
You will always be there for me.
I know that.
As I will you.
I think…
No.
I know…
You are my forever now.
Thank you for the bumpiest
Yet most well spent 15 years.
Here’s to at least 15 more.
Love….